When Breaking Bad concluded its incredible five-season run back in 2013, most fans assumed that was the end of it. And yet, the universe continued to expand, with spinoff series Better Call Saul and, most recently, the film continuation of Jesse Pinkman's story, El Camino. It may be hard to argue that El Camino is "necessary" in a traditional sense, but that doesn't mean it's any less enjoyable or that it doesn't expand the Breaking Bad mythology in interesting and satisfying ways.
El Camino certainly looks to the future, but it spends almost as much of its runtime looking to the past to flesh out new aspects and gaps in the Breaking Bad story - namely, Jesse's role in that story. We're treated to several cameos by series favorites, but we also get to see what could be called "deleted scenes." That is, events that were hinted at or assumed are now portrayed on screen to provide additional context to some of Breaking Bad's key moments and most poignant relationships.
But it's likely been awhile since most of us have binge-watched Breaking Bad in our Walter White tighty whities, so we've compiled a list of the most important revelations from El Camino.
The scene in which Jesse takes Todd's life in the Breaking Bad series finale is already a powerful moment of revenge due to Todd's role in Jesse's imprisonment and the slaying of Andrea. But El Camino gives the moment even more context. A huge swath of El Camino flashes back to a weekend in which Todd enlists his captive's help in removing the body of a cleaning lady who found something she wasn't supposed to find.
Needless to say, Todd is fully in control of the situation - his ultimatum against the lives of Andrea and Brock being his trump card - but he makes one crucial mistake during the burial portion of this weekend misadventure. Todd asks Jesse to get a pack of cigarettes out of the glove compartment, having presumably forgotten that he left his pistol in there, too. Jesse grabs it - with intent - but he hesitates, and second-guesses, and allows himself to be talked down by Todd. His hesitance to pull the trigger could have various causes - not just the possible ramifications for Brock if he does so, but also the simple fact that he's lost his will to fight by this point, even with such a stroke of good luck.
This El Camino scene allows us to see the events of the Breaking Bad finale with more hindsight. By the time Jesse gets his second chance at Todd, he's regained his fighting spirit, and he does not hesitate.
There's a moment in the final season of Breaking Bad in which Jesse almost leaves town - and thus almost avoids the inhumanity of his time as a meth-cooking captive, as well as the heartache of his doomed relationships with Andrea and Brock. Thanks to his lawyer Saul Goodman, Jesse secures the services of disappearance expert Ed Galbraith (whose day job is managing a vacuum cleaner store). But just before he potentially gets out for good, he comes to a devastating revelation about his former partner Walter White - and when that minivan pulls up to usher Jesse to freedom, he bails at the last second.
In El Camino, Jesse gets another chance at that freedom. This time he personally tracks down the Disappearer and attempts to enlist his services, but Mr. Galbraith is none too pleased about having been abandoned the first time around. He forces Jesse to pay not only the $125,000 he owed for the first attempt, but an additional $125,000 for this new disappearance.
A big reason Jesse doesn't successfully escape Uncle Jack's compound before Walt's - and his chaingun's - arrival is that Todd has threatened to knock off Jesse's one-time girlfriend Andrea and her son Brock. In fact, Todd follows through on his threat - or at least half of it, offing Andrea and promising to do the same to her son if Jesse attempts to break out again. And that's not the first time Brock has been in danger. In Season 4, Walt poisons Brock - a presumptively non-fatal dose that nonetheless sends the kid into intensive care - and points the finger at Gus Fring, despite Jesse's gut feeling that it was Walt all along.
That Brock's association with Jesse - who took a distinctly paternal approach to the kid while dating his mother - has all but ruined his childhood is a fact Jesse will have to sit with for the rest of his life. His lingering guilt is not just an emotional grace note but, in El Camino, propels Jesse's final official act as "Jesse Pinkman" before trading in that identity for a new one. He pens a personal letter to Brock - which Ed Galbraith promises to send in about a month's time, when he's down in Mexico City. While it's not clear what's written in the letter, some combination of explanation and apology would be a reasonable assumption.
Watching Breaking Bad, one might assume that the white supremacists built Jesse's crazy meth lab - complete with overhead suspension and chain - on their own. Thanks to El Camino, we now know the facility was actually contracted out to another bunch of sleazy misfits called the Kandy Welding Co.
This becomes an important plot point, as two members of the company pose as police officers in order to get into the now-deceased Todd's apartment and look for the money they know is stashed in there somewhere. Ultimately, most of them - in particular Neil, who installed the escape-proof setup that kept Jesse in check for so many months - are taken out by Jesse in an old-fashioned, Western-style face-off.